Personal Jurisdiction (Pennoyer v. Neff)

  • Constructive service is sufficient for in rem proceedings, personal service of process is necessary for in personam proceedings
    • In Personam:
      • To establish, need personal service upon defendant within the state (catching Δ in state = ability to hold/arrest → establishes power over them)
      • Once in personam established, state can seize assets even in other states.
    • In Rem: in absence of personal service, state can seize property if it's the subject of the lawsuit.
      • Maximum liability = value of property.
    • Quasi In Rem: seizure of property as basis for starting lawsuit, even though not subject of lawsuit.
      • Again, limit of liability court can impose = value of property.
  • Individual Δ "present" in any state where domiciled; corporation present in state of center of operation.
  • Due Process Clause (14th Amendment) protects people from being unfairly subject to court outside of proper jurisdiction.
  • Would be violation of the Due Process Clause if other states recognized Oregon judgment against Pennoyer.
    • I.e., "Full Faith and Credit" negated since judgment did not comport with Due Process Clause.
  • State sovereignty:
    • States cannot violate other states' right to exercise jurisdiction over land within their borders.
    • Cannot attach land outside borders.
Pennoyer v. Neff
  • Action #1: Neff acquires property in Oregon, sheriff seizes due to Neff's non-payment to Mitchell (his attorney originally). Neff takes a default judgment in Oregon state court by failing to appear.
  • Action #2: In a "collateral attack" in federal court, Neff sues Pennoyer (who bought his land at a sheriff's auction) and challenges the Oregon court's exercise of jurisdiction over him. Claimed:
    • 1. Inadequate notice.
    • 2. Lack of personal jurisdiction.
    • Issue: Neff's property was seized after the judgment against him, thus not used as the basis for quasi in rem jurisdiction.
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